The Digital Age & Youth

With the Digital Age, youth is becoming more powerful in the sense that their opinions and problems are being spread globally. This global spread is creating a strong basis for youth in countries in North Africa and the Middle East. With social media the youth can speak on political issues and humans rights. People living in repression have the ability to express their views on their unjust conditions regarding politics and economics. According to Linda Herrera it is important to understand the youth connectivity and unemployment in places such as the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) compared to that of North America and Europe. It is vital to get a global perspective and take into account the third-world countries that are suffering the most. By looking at the Digital Age from a global stand point an individual can achieve more and possibly help spread equality. When we look at areas such as the Middle East and North Africa we can see a large distinction between the Digital age in comparison countries such as North America. I think that our problems in America are minimal to those in places such as Egypt. For example, in 2011 students in Egypt used social media to vocalize the dissatisfaction with corrupt teachers and administrators.  The SCAF (government) in Egypt created most of this uproar that caused a revolution because the people were unhappy with the “ruling regime”. During this revolution youth communicated using media such as Facebook to protest and disagree with their government. “Compared to previous generations, youth coming to age in the digital era are learning and exercising citizenship in fundamentally different ways” (Herrea 334). These different ways include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. What I find remarkable about the digital age is the youth, students in particular, can learn and connect with each other to create a more fitting global society. Through social media students can understand each other in ways like never before. Although there may be difference in class, ideology, geography and gender, the digital age is bringing our youth together like never before. “…as youth around the globe develop common behaviors and attitudes stemming form their interaction with new media and communication tools, we can speak at some levels of global youth culture” (Castells 2007). This phenomena is amazing and will shape our world positively for a brighter future.

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Understanding Egypt’s Current State

From someone who had just started learning about activism in Egypt, it is a little bit hard to believe that the 2011 revolution’s success only lasted that long. Herrera’s article helped me understand this a little bit. It went into depth about how the ‘wired generation’, or simply the youth, was able to mobilise the revolution through the internet. The article also pointed out the limitations of the wired generation – in relation to going backwards after the revolution – short attention span and lack of long term planning skills.

Herrera raised an important question: “Does our generation possess the skill sets, vision, resources and organisational know-how necessary to build and sustain the type of democratic and just society it values?”

From Egypt’s current state, its clear that the youth is able to voice their ideologies alright, but they were unable to take the leadership role themselves, and now they are unable to overthrow the regime because it has become more repressive than ever. Its government had issued highly restrictive assembly laws that banned public protests back in 2013. In the following year, Egypt’s current president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi gave the military even more power than they already had by placing all ‘public and vital facilities’ under military jurisdiction – this means that since protesting is illegal, civilians will be trialled in military court for doing so, which is what has been happening in Egypt for the past few years.

Before the 2011 revolution, it was police brutality, but now its the military. As shown in so many cases, they can arrest and hold people up to years without ever giving them a trail, they can torture people into confessing or they can trial them without following due process. Military court also does not have a different set of rules for juveniles, making it dangerous for anyone and everyone.

Going back to Herrera’s question about the new generation’s ability: I think it has been repressed before it could mature, and is being led into wrong directions.